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Why Craft Matters: A Symposium

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    Ticket information

  • Adult: £45
  • Member: £30
  • Concession (student/unemployed): £20


  • Kathryn Welford, Learning Manager
  • Harewood House

  • 01132181093
  • [javascript protected email address]

Friday 17 May 2019

Expert speakers, industry professionals and makers will explore some of the questions raised by Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters – an exhibition which challenges preconceptions of craft and the role craft plays in our sense of identity, culture and society.

Join us for a day of debate, presentations and panel discussions with some of the country’s leading craft professionals, makers, academics and commentators. 

This is a lively event for anyone interested in contemporary craft and society, from craft and design professionals, artists and makers to students and academics. 

The Symposium will explore:

What values do we invest in craft and how does it represent who we are and how we want to live? In a world more reliant than ever on digital and virtual elements, is craft a way to reconnect with the physical realm? Is it an antidote to mass consumption and how can craft thrive in the contemporary market place?

At a time of enormous social, political and environmental change, we will ask whether craft can provide the principles for a more sustainable and happier way of being. With input from a range of specialists and debate from the floor, the symposium will attempt, ultimately, to answer the question of why craft matters.

10.00 – 4.00pm:        Main Symposium

4.30 – 6.00pm          Drinks and networking in the Stewards Room, Harewood House

Symposium Highlights

Introduction to Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters by Curator Hugo Macdonald

Keynote Speaker:

Dr Alex Langlands, Archaeologist, Historian, Writer and Broadcaster
Cræft: How traditional crafts are about more than just making

The keynote presentation will contextualise craft within its historical and archaeological setting.  Langlands will consider how craft and its role has changed over time, to meet social and individual needs and will defend the renewed importance of craft today.

The New Craftsmen and the value of CraftCatherine Lock, Creative Director and Founder of The New Craftsmen

The New Craftsmen upholds the values of humanity, integrity and imagination in craft, showcasing exceptional work and supporting the growth and success of makers. Catherine will look at the innate values of contemporary craft and why these values are so important to the craft industry and consumer.

Craft as a political ideology – two hundred years since Ruskin Dr Rachel Dickinson, Principal Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Studies/English Literature, Manchester Metropolitan University

In Ruskin’s bicentenary year, Rachel will reflect on Ruskin’s vision for sustainable living and how it can be reinterpreted for the twenty-first century in areas such as art, business management, crafts and ethical consumerism.

A Different Way of Doing Business? – Dr Alice Owen, Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds

How can craft businesses provide a different economic model that isn’t driven by ever expanding growth and exploitation of a diminishing set of natural resources, and can it be a powerful antidote to the growth of the “Anytown” high street?

Our Future is in the MakingNicky Dewar, Head of Learning and Talent Development at the Crafts Council

How do we nurture our next generation of makers, designers and innovators when craft education is in crisis? Drawing together research, debate and project work, Nicky will share The Crafts Council’s clear vision for sustaining craft and the skills of our makers.

Presentations by Makers:
Jahday Ford – a recent graduate, combining the techniques of glass blowing with possibilities of digital software
Lena Peters – ceramicist whose work plays with folkloric narratives
Juli Bolaños-Durman – an artist and designer who repurposes glass objects to create new artefacts
Leszek Sikon – artisan blacksmith combining modern design with traditional techniques
Jenny King Embroidery – design and production studio, working in the UK Fashion industry, specialising in Irish Embroidery

The event will be hosted by Jane Marriott, Harewood House Trust Director

The Symposium will be followed by drinks and an opportunity to see Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters in Harewood House

Event Ticket Price includes admission

To book, click on ‘Book Tickets’ on the panel on the left.

Please note: Lunch is not included in the ticket price. Our cafe and other catering outlets are available on site to purchase food or you are welcome to bring a picnic.

For Concessionary tickets, please bring appropriate ID on the day